The Business of Fitness

Note: This article originally appeared on AustinFitMagazine.com on July 2, 2015.

Backstories behind 15 Austin-based health and fitness companies that are experiencing all-time success in their industries

FloSports

There’s no shortage of media coverage for the sport of football in Texas. But there’s a huge gap between what’s available news-wise for sports like football and for other sports like wrestling or track. That was, until now. Brothers Martin and Mark Floreani are the founders of FloSports, a company based in Austin that provides live-streaming services for sporting events across the country.

Martin, who wrestled at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), and Mark, who ran track at the University of Texas at Austin, realized that there was an opportunity to provide live video coverage of niche, or less dominant, sports. “When we were in college, there was no one on our sports,” Martin said.

In 2003, Martin started covering wrestling events across the country while Mark finished his senior year at Texas. Shortly after graduating, Mark joined Martin on the road and began adding his own footage of track events.

The two brothers trekked across the country in a van to capture live sporting events, and FloSports was born. The response to their coverage was enormous. Most of the athletes they filmed had never seen live coverage of their sport before. The athletic communities were so thankful that they often gave the brothers a place to stay, saving them from sleeping in their van.

A turning point for FloSports came when Mark and Martin filmed Ryan Hall win the Houston Half Marathon in 2007. Hall set the U.S. half marathon record and became the first American to break the one-hour mark for a half marathon. Mark and Martin’s YouTube video of the event, which included commentary and an interview with Hall’s wife, generated more likes than any FloSports video had before.

Fast-forward to today, and FloSports operates out of an East Austin office with a growing team of more than 100 reporters, video editors, and other operational staff members. The company has expanded to include coverage for specific areas of track and long-distance running, gymnastics, and even CrossFit. In June, the company launched their FloSoftball website.

While niche sports are the primary source of content coverage right now, the Floreani brothers are open to covering all sports—as long as they fit the FloSports model. “We’re not going to cover sports the way everyone else covers them,” Mark said, echoing their tagline—“Sports coverage for athletes by athletes.”

Martin and Mark agree that the business climate of Texas matched with the entrepreneurial spirit and centralized location of Austin “makes life easier” for their growing company. The laid-back Austin culture also sits well with the athletes that work at FloSports. Active sports competitors themselves, employees will often wear their workout clothes to the office.

“We are the fittest company in Austin,” Martin said confidently. For a company composed of former collegiate and professional swimmers, runners, wrestlers, gymnasts, and more, he just might be right.
– Emily Laskowski